Thursday, March 10, 2005

Playing a ‘Bigger Game’ Than Your Opponent…

Regionals are coming. If you’re like most people around the Magic world you’ve at least considered competing with between 300-700 other players in your ‘Region’ for one of 8 coveted spots per event for your National Championship.

This is the ‘breakthrough event.’ It’s how I first became a Magic Pro—same for Jon Finkel, Justin Gary, Matt Linde and dozens of other top named pros. It’s how guys like Josh Waggoner go from being ‘nobodys’ to becoming $25,000 winning National Champs—and it’s how you get the opportunity for you to represent your country at Magic’s World championship.

This is your open audition…and all you have to do is play 12 rounds of Standard and not lose more than say 2 matches…

Sounds easy right?

But just last week Wizards of the Coast threw a little ‘kink’ into the engine…

They ‘banned’ affinity. Well, not ALL of affinity, but they did ban all of the artifact lands, AND Arcbound Ravager AND Disciple of the Vault…

That means you basically can’t play Affinity and you can’t play Krark Clan Ironworks.

And it means that you have an opportunity to step into the confusion and come through with a brand new deck as a winner, if…

If you can figure out what Standard is now all about. Standard USED to be about the balance between Affinity and Anti-Affinity—which is EXACTLY why Affinity was banned.

So you’re probably wondering what the ‘deck to play’ is now, right?

Well of course, I have some ideas. Because of a ‘little project’ I’ve been working on I have been playing hundreds of hours of Magic, testing and refining decks post affinity, and I do have a very good idea of what is good, and I’ll tell you how to get that information when its ready…

But first let me tell you HOW I figured out which decks would work, and which deck is BEST.

Its like the old story goes, give a man a fish, feed him for a day, TEACH him how to fish, feed him for LIFE.

Well, I don’t know if I can teach you about every aspect of deck construction in this one little blog post—but what I can do is share with you what I think the KEY to Standard play is in the Post-Affinity era…

Play a ‘bigger game’ than your opponent.

What do I mean by a ‘bigger game?’ Let’s take the most commonly known deck, Tooth and Nail (and, by the way don’t worry if you don’t recognize these decks, I’ll lay ALL of this out for you in DETAIL in the next couple of weeks…).

The best Tooth and Nail decks devote about 80% of their deck to accelerating to about 9 mana as fast as possible and then casting say a Tooth and Nail

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/tooth_and_nail.jpg

and then they’ll do something obnoxious like putting out Darksteel Colossus and Kiki-Jiki Mirror Breaker

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/darksteel_colossus.jpg

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/kiki_jiki_mirror_breaker.jpg

From there it doesn’t take too much creativity to win…

But where you do need creativity is in figuring out what’s REALLY going on… Which is that Tooth and Nail decks are in a RACE to get to that mana BEFORE their opponent does something equally obnoxious like slamming them with Plow Under or a huge Death Cloud

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/plow_under.jpg

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/death_cloud.jpg

So then we can break being ‘bigger’ down to two components—mana acceleration (Birds of Paradise, etc) and what ‘bombs’ you choose to use all of that mana on (like Tooth and Nail)—OR—if you choose—how to play a ‘bigger game’ than your opponent might also include destroying their mana resources while you build yours (Plow Under) or even targeting their ‘bombs’ with cards like ‘Cranial Extraction’

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/birds_of_paradise.jpg

http://mi.wizards.com/global/images/magic/general/cranial_extraction.jpg

And if you get THAT concept you’ll start to see how you can take a FOUNDATIONAL approach to unraveling the new Standard rather than standing on the sidelines waiting for everyone else to figure out this same idea by trial and error AFTER regionals…

You can choose which YOU prefer:-)

Regards,

Mike Long

PS. Check back soon for SPECIFICS on EXACTLY which decks best TAKE ADVANTAGE of this key Magic strategy...

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home